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Insights and highlights

Overview

This section provides a summary of the top five key priority skills identified most frequently by industry, the factors and trends which affect the demand for skills, and key initiatives underway which aim to address skills needs.

Below are the top five skills, of eleven priority skill areas, identified by Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) in their 2017 Skills Forecasts. The skills set out in the Future skills and training: A practical resource to help identify future skills and training report have been used as a framework for organising these skill areas.

It is evident from the analysis that industry and occupational specific skills remain a priority for all industries, with some IRC Skills Forecasts identifying key technical skills in demand. Indeed, these specific skills for specific jobs remain an integral part of Australia's vocational education and training system. It is also evident that in addition to industry and occupational skills, industry also has a huge demand for cross-sector skills such as digital, business and compliance, collaboration, and leadership and management skills. 

Given the ever-evolving challenges that industry face due to factors such as structural change, economic cycles, changing markets, and emerging technology, these transferable cross-sector skills are critical for ensuring Australia's workforce can adapt to the ever-changing environment.  

For more detailed analysis on all eleven priority skill areas and industry demand please visit the Priority skills page. For more information on the factors driving demand for skills please visit the Factors and trends page, and to find out about cross-sector projects and training package development work underway, please visit the Key initiatives page. 

The top five priority skills are summarised below: 

Industry and occupation skills

Industry and occupation skills refer to specific skills that different IRCs have identified as being a priority for their industry. These skills vary from industry to industry and they are unpacked further on the Priority Skills page. 

71% of IRC Skills Forecasts identified this skill as a priority

Priority skills

Skills identified by IRCs

  • Cross-industry skills and trades
  • Occupation/industry-specific skills
  • Understanding/use of technology
  • Industry-specific knowledge, including technical, product and market-related knowledge
  • Generic references to ‘technical’ skills.

Factors and trends

Driving demand for skills

Key initiatives

Training package projects addressing skills needs

  • Global mobility
  • Ageing population
  • Changing work and career values
  • Skills mismatch
  • Workforce vulnerability
  • Network working and producing
  • Changing workplace dynamics
  • Digitisation
  • Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
  • Automation 
  • Digital skills.

Digital skills

In a world of rapid technological expansion which affects all industries, it is vital that the workforce is agile and has the skills to drive and adapt to new technologies. Digital skills include coding and programming, development and use of robotic and automation technologies, leveraging ICT skills in business, and exploring the world of cloud computing and the 'Internet of Things'. 

64% of IRC 'Skills Forecasts' identified this skill as a priority

Priority skills

Skills identified by IRCs

  • ICT skills
  • Automation and robotics
  • Electronics
  • Coding/programming skills
  • Application design and development
  • E-learning delivery
  • Using business software
  • Cyber security
  • Cloud computing.

Factors and trends

Driving demand for skills

Key initiatives

Training package projects addressing skills needs

  • High speed competition
  • Emerging markets
  • Workforce vulnerability
  • Network working and producing 
  • Changing workplace dynamics
  • Digitisation
  • Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
  • Big data
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • Mobility and connectivity
  • Cross-disciplinary science
  • Access to quality internet.
  • Automation 
  • Big data
  • Cyber security
  • Digital skills
  • Supply chains.

Leadership and management skills

Leadership and management skills refers to a range of skills including people management, self-management and change management.  

58% of IRC 'Skills Forecasts' identified this skill as a priority

Priority skills

Skills identified by IRCs

  • Professionalism
  • Leadership, innovation, project and change management
  • Management skills
  • Self-leadership (manage own time, prioritise and work autonomously).

Factors and trends

Driving demand for skills

Key initiatives

Training package projects addressing skills needs

  • Increased participation by women and gender related disparity
  • Start-up thinking
  • Network working and producing
  • Changing workplace dynamics
  • Behavioural economics and psychology
  • Mobility and connectivity.
  • Supply chains
  • Teamwork and communication.

Business and compliance skills

Business and compliance skills refers to the types of skills industry needs to run a business, understand relevant regulatory requirements and maintain compliance.  

56% of IRC 'Skills Forecasts' identified this skill as a priority

Priority skills

Skills identified by IRCs

  • Business process improvement
  • Organisational planning and project management
  • Workforce development
  • Small business management
  • Financial and risk management
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Understanding regulatory requirements.

Factors and trends

Driving demand for skills

Key initiatives

Training package projects addressing skills needs

  • High speed competition
  • Start-up thinking
  • Workforce vulnerability
  • Network working and producing 
  • Changing workplace dynamics
  • Empowered customers
  • Behavioural economics and psychology
  • Digitisation
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Big data
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality
  • Mobility and connectivity
  • International sustainability action
  • Financial viability
  • Innovation ahead of regulation
  • Policy environment
  • Appetite for reform.
  • Big data
  • Supply chains.

Collaboration skills

Those able to collaborate and share information are best able to adapt to changing markets and technologies, interact in diverse workplaces, and effectively respond to customer needs. Skills that enhance collaboration include communication and teamwork skills, relationship management, and social and cultural awareness.

51% of IRC 'Skills Forecasts' identified this skill as a priority

Priority skills

Skills identified by IRCs

  • Communication skills
  • Customer service
  • Conflict management
  • Community engagement
  • Social and interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Cultural and global awareness
  • Emotional intelligence.

Factors and trends

Driving demand for skills

Key initiatives

Training package projects addressing skills needs

  • Global mobility
  • Emerging markets
  • Network working and producing
  • Changing workplace dynamics
  • Knowledge-based economy
  • Empowered customers
  • Behavioural economics and psychology
  • Mobility and connectivity
  • Cross-disciplinary science.
  • Work and participation bank (teamwork and communication)
  • Inclusion of people with disability
  • Consumer engagement through social media.
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